Tuesday, September 21, 2021

MSU accepts video essay in applications

September 23, 2008

Editor’s note: This article was altered to fix a mistake regarding application requirements.

MSU officials can’t meet every undergraduate applicant, but a new online tool will let students bring their personal statements to life, Elle Woods-style.

For the first time, MSU will accept video supplements in addition to the required personal statement to complete the university application.

The technology gives students who don’t feel comfortable writing about fitting in at MSU a different opportunity to tell the admissions committee why he or she should become a member of the Green and White family, said Jim Cotter, MSU director of admissions.

“It gives students a voice,” Cotter said.

“Some people articulate who they are very clearly in writing, but everyone’s a little different.”

Students can upload videos to a public server such as YouTube.com and send it to college admissions offices by registering with CollegeSupplement.com for free.

The admissions process isn’t expected to slow down because of the multimedia supplement and won’t largely impact the final decision, Cotter said.

“I wouldn’t say it makes no difference at all in the application process,” Cotter said. “Its impact on a decision is probably minimal, but in many ways it’s another service students can use to share what they think we ought to know about them.”

About a year ago, Steve Metzman, founder and president of CollegeSupplement.com, approached members of the Office of Admissions with a product he felt would complement the university’s evaluation method.

“It was technology that became available and we became excited about it,” Cotter said. “A few weeks ago, we looked at it and it seemed to be all value added (to the application).”

Metzman founded CollegeSupplement.com in 2007 to give university admissions offices a secure Web site to view applicant videos, but Metzman said the admissions offices aren’t the only ones who benefit.

“It enables the applicant to highlight things that make that applicant unique and help them stand out,” Metzman said. “Second, it enables disadvantaged applicants to play on a level playing field.”

Despite the supplement’s ability to connect applicant to admissions office, the video doesn’t replace writing a personal statement, English senior Julia Allen said.

“To me, the new video thing seems like a YouTube type of thing,” she said. “It seems unprofessional to just turn in a video like ‘Hey, how’s it going? I want to go to your school.’”

Each year, MSU receives about 25,000 undergraduate applications, and Cotter expected to see similar numbers this year. He won’t have an estimate as to how many people are using the video component until the university receives about 6,000 applications.

“It will be interesting to see how much it catches on this year, but I would anticipate in years to come this will be one of those things that the momentum will grow,” Cotter said. “My sense is this is likely a new technology that down the road will be widely used, but we jumped in on the front end.”

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